As part of the strategic planning process for Girls Inc., I recently completed an environmental scan for greater Indianapolis. At this point, you may be asking yourself the common question, what the heck is an environmental scan? The reality is that there are quite a few answers to that question, but there are some basics that most people agree on. 

An environmental scan is a systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and sharing information. So, a few months ago I began the task of systematically gathering and analyzing information about the risk factors and problems girls in greater Indianapolis face. What I found painted a picture of girls in need of services. I found that Indiana high school girls were more likely than boys to be bullied at school and to have more risk factors for teen suicide. I also learned that Indiana girls were more likely than boys to have sex and to have sex without using a condom. Finally, Indiana girls were also more likely than Indiana boys to show signs of eating disorders. 

At this point, you might be wondering how Indiana girls stack up to other girls in the U.S. – I know I was. The answer is that Indiana girls also have higher risk factors for nearly all of the above items than other girls in the U.S. One of the statistics that really troubled me was that girls in high school in Indiana report much higher incidents of rape than other girls in the U.S. 

Before you begin to despair, there is actually good news in this blog. I found that Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis programming does address the needs of girls in this area. Our programming is geared toward reducing girl violence and bullying, and teaching girls how to work out their problems with friends. Some of our programs work to challenge girl stereotypes and helps girls redefine their image of beauty. We also have preventing adolescent pregnancy programs and programs that teach girls how to keep themselves safe in a variety of situations and equips them with basic self defense moves. In other words, I found that Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis is helping give girls the tools they need to live healthy, safe, and happy lives. We empower girls to be strong, smart, and bold in the hopes that someday we help change the statistics.   

Where can you look for more information?  Check out these sources to find the information in this blog and much, much more.